Charlie Hebdo – Muslim Executive of Belgium: Smaili calls for imams and mosques management committees to be educated
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    Charlie Hebdo – Muslim Executive of Belgium: Smaili calls for imams and mosques management committees to be educated

    On Friday, Nouredinne Smaili, president of the EMB (Muslim Executive of Belgium), invited public authorities to play an increased role in educating imams and in regulating mosque management committees. Speaking on Bel RTL radio, he called for youths returning from Syria to be interviewed to gather information. “When minister Jean-Claude Marcourt (Minister of Higher Education of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation) suggested there should be a Master’s programme for imams, I said, let’s do that,” stated Mr. Smaili, himself an imam in Liege. “We need to educate imams, we need to educate the managers of mosques, and we need to educate people.”

    When asked about youths who go to fight in Syria, he recommends they be “mined for information” rather than deprived of their rights upon their return. “They should come back here to tell us what they went through on the other side. We must find a way to understand who persuaded them to leave, who trained them, why they left. We need their feedback so we can stop it happening by educating youths living here in Belgium.”

    The terrorist attack in Paris has shocked the Muslim community, added Mr. Smaili. “Muslims feel humiliated because these acts are perpetrated in their name. They have no link with the terrorists.” He says that personally he is not offended by cartoons representing the prophet. Even in the Quran, Mohammed is “insulted” by his opponents, he highlights. Furthermore, “if the law says it is legal to do this, then I do not think I have the right to oppose it.”

    Surprisingly, he even proclaims himself “somewhat in agreement” with polemicist Eric Zemmour regarding the expulsion of people who do not share European values. “I would say more or less the same thing. They can fit in or leave. If they are not ready to agree with some European values and to live in Europe within European law, they shouldn’t be here.” When asked earlier what he would tell people wanting to join the jihad in Syria, he had said: “Don’t do it. You are Europeans, fight for European ideals.”

    Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)